Thanks to the various advances in mobile technology and computers in general, we now have more means than ever before to make contact between businesses and customers. But a new study from Parature shows that, despite the increase in means to get in touch with companies, many of the same issues that customers had with companies are still in fact quite commonplace.
The Parature (News - Alert) survey, titled 2014 State of Multichannel Customer Service Survey, took a look at the new customer service landscape, and made some discoveries that show that many of the complaints of the past have found a way into the future. This is a study with a lot riding on it; previous studies show that almost two thirds of customers—65 percent—will stop dealing with a particular brand should a poor experience with the customer service arm arise. What the Parature survey showed, meanwhile, should prove a sobering experience for nearly any firm with a customer service focus.
One of the biggest problems that gets classified as a “poor experience with the customer service arm,” so to speak, is having to call back for the same problem. Customers want a problem solved the first time, every time, and having to call multiple times for the same reason is a problem in its own right as far as 47 percent of respondents are concerned. Meanwhile, getting shuffled from agent to agent is also a major problem for 43 percent of respondents; and 37 percent have issues with rude customer service representatives.
With that in mind, it should be no surprise that 41 percent say that resolving issues quickly is the key to making a customer service experience truly outstanding, while 26 percent upgrade that slightly to getting the answer within one transaction. As for issues of customer service through social media, a healthy 59 percent said that a particular brand had responded to that user's question or comment, whether positive or negative. In turn, 51 percent found that that response improved the customer's view of the brand itself. But the biggest problem with social media customer service is that customers tend to expect a very rapid response, with 38 percent expecting response within one hour, and 29 percent allowing up to 24 hours for response.
As for the platform of choice, most still favor the telephone above all at 43 percent, while email is becoming more widely used at 22 percent. 18 percent, meanwhile, look into live chat functions. But for those who want a quick response, the phone still ranks top notch at 57 percent, while 24 percent start looking into live chat. 40 percent of customers would rather use a self-service option if it does the job, and 66 percent say that self-service has been used at least once in the last year, while 33 percent have used it more than three times.
This should show something very useful for businesses overall; while users do enjoy having the options of making contact on social media and the like, the key isn't so much the channel as what's accomplished on that channel. Customers contact a business to get answers to problems, so getting those answers is the first priority. Yes, it's important to keep all those other methods of contact open and running—all those improvements in brand perception are important—but above all, it's rapid response and solved problems that win the day. Companies that remember this are likely to do well in the short-term, and potentially the long term as well.